Training the social athlete

I spent yesterday (Wednesday, Beijing) in our International i.Lounge in the Athlete’s Village playing the social media expert to any and all who would listen. I really get charged up hanging around elite jocks — they’re young for the most part, completely dedicated, excited, and grateful for the experience. I find any proximity to that is kicking a lot of cynicism out of me to the wayside.

Tatyana Lebedeva from Russia came by and asked me to help her set up a blog to accompany the website she has already launched.  We signed her up for a Google account, enabled a blog on blogger (, Skyped her significant other with the details, watched him via video check it out, wrote down the passwords, and were done. Fastest blog launch in my personal history. In the course of the sign up I learned she won a silver medal in the triple-jump.

Then I got to meet one of the bloggers in the Lenovo Voices of the Summer Olympics program, Canadian high jumper Nicole Forrester who blogs at Soaring to Excellence. She needed a new IdeaPad so I swapped her Y510 for a sleek U110 and our interactive media expert and iLounge manager, Sheji Ho, offered to perform a data transfer. Nicole and I talked about stuff for a half hour, me nervous to keep her staying too long as she was getting psyched for her big competition. She’s tall. Like really tall. Taller than me tall. She told me the story of the opening ceremony, of singing O Canada! in the tunnel leading out to the field, and reminded me that none of the athletes got to watch Zhang Yimou’s opening theatrics because they were waiting outside for their parade of champions.

Then I met a journalist from Uganda and we talked about getting his country’s delegation online and blogging.

Finally I got to meet Sanani Mangisa, who plays on the South African field hockey team. She loves to blog and was very complimentary about the entire blogging program, Lenovo’s iLounge, tech support, and overall goodwill.

I left feeling great about things and wished we could have done this for more athletes. It’s obvious athlete blogging is here to stay.

Author: David Churbuck

Cape Codder with an itch to write

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